Home NewsNational African CDC Leader Calls For Rwanda Health Workers to Be Remunerated

African CDC Leader Calls For Rwanda Health Workers to Be Remunerated

by Daniel Sabiiti
2:26 pm

Community health worker helping a mother

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa-CDC) has committed to supporting Rwandan community health workers in getting paid for the work they do in fighting malaria at the grassroots levels.

Dr. Raji Tajudeen, Acting Africa CDC Deputy Director General made the remarks at the celebrations to mark the 2024 World Malaria Day on the continental level that was held in Kigali, this April 25, 2024 as part of the closing events of the 8th Pan-African Malaria Conference.

The CHW program was initiated in 1995, as Rwanda’s Home Grown Solutions (HGS) with volunteers at cell level for mobilizing communities through health education to seek medical care in health facilities.

The voluntary program, where residents elect the CHW’s has grown to reach the village level with close to 60,000 volunteers across the country even when the CHWs get a small appreciation for their work through the Performance Based Financing (PBF)- which is provided by partners in the health sector.

Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) statistics show that the numbers of malaria cases (incidents) have reduced in the last nine years, partly as a result Community Health Workers (CHWs) playing a significant role in the reduction accounting for 59% of cases handled in the fiscal years 2022/2023.

These efforts (of about 60,000 CHWs in Rwanda) have seen malaria incidents (per 1,000 persons per year) drop from 321 cases to 47 and malaria related deaths reduced from 264 cases to 51 cases between the years 2018 to 2023.

To support the malaria control agenda, using community health systems, Heads of State met in 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and agreed on scaling up recruitment and training of 2 million CHWs as a foundation for the continent’s primary healthcare system.

Tajudeen said that Africa is nowhere near that target but recognized the role of Rwanda’s CHWs saying that the organization will support to get appreciated financially for their role as the CDC plans to train 500, 000 CHWs between now and 2027.

“We all heard the submission from our colleague from Rwanda articulating the role of community health workers. In fact, he said so many good things about the community health workers. The only negative thing was that the 60,000 are working this on a volunteer (basis). We do not want to see that any longer. We want our community health workers to be salaried,” Tajudeen stated.

“And the Africa CDC, truly the African Union, is pushing this agenda strongly,” he revealed.

The conference highlighted the need to manage cross border malaria transmission which are partly caused by relaxed regulations in neighboring countries especially in Eastern Africa.

Tajudeen said the Africa CDC is driving a strong surveillance agenda and wants this to work effectively at the community levels in order to support malaria and other infectious diseases intervention programs, which will be monitored at the bloc levels through the Regional Surveillance Network which will allow effective response activities.

Tajudeen revealed that the CDC intends to put an end to imported vaccines and medication, by pushing for local manufacturing following the launch of the Africa Health Products Manufacturing Support Platform in February this year which will also come with a digital platform to purchase in bulk.

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